91/11/2001: The Day That Changed America
Washington-Area Kids Pitch In
By Karen Fanning

About 15,000 people filled the parking lot and parade fields at the Pentagon for a memorial service to honor those who perished in the September 11 attack. Kids in the D.C. area have worked hard to support the victims of 9/11. (Photo: Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense)
The Bullis School is just a short ride from the Pentagon, so when terrorists struck America's military fortress on September 11, fear swept through the hallways. Within days, however, students put their anxieties aside and rushed into action.

"When you realized the devastation and death toll, no one needed to motivate anyone to get involved," says Marty Berger, director of Community Service at the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland.

In early October, the school sponsored a car wash, with students from each grade taking on different jobs — from soaping to sponging to toweling dry. Along the lanes, they sold baked goods, American flags, patriotic pins, and United We Stand T-shirts. Generous patrons donated $25 to $100 per scrub.

Helping the victims was a personal crusade for students at Bullis. Two of their classmates, twin boys in the sixth grade, lost their father, who was a passenger on the plane that struck the Pentagon.

"We were all hit very hard by the tragedy," says 17-year-old senior Bethany Lee, who helped organize the car wash. "It brought a lot of us to our knees. But we weren't going to let it stop us from doing what was right — helping out and showing moral support."

The following weekend, students and faculty squared off in a soccer game in a second fund-raiser. In all, the car wash and soccer game raised more than $16,000. The Bullis School donated the money to the 9/11 Fund and the police and firefighters of New York City.

"September 11 demonstrated that all of us have patriotism in us, and when it gets awakened, there's nothing you can't do," says Berger. Elsewhere around Washington, students at Candlewood Elementary School in Rockville, Maryland, held a "Math Fact-a-Thon" and collected $2,000 in pledge money, which they handed over to the American Red Cross. Students at Gaithersburg Middle School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, raised $1,500 for the children of Afghanistan.

In McLean Virginia, students at the Potomac School teamed up with area schools — Woodlin Elementary, Eastern Middle School, and Bethesda Friends Meeting School—just days after the terrorist attack to create origami paper cranes. Origami is the Japanese traditional art form of folded paper.

"Paper cranes are symbols of peace, health, and healing," says Hillary Steel, an art teacher at the Potomac School, which is located less than 10 miles from the Pentagon.

In all, students sent 1,000 cranes to the Pentagon and another 1,000 to the New York Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services headquarters.

"We wanted to show emotional support for the firefighters, people who really have to perform a job that is so demanding, who save the lives of many," says Steel. "We wanted to show unity and support for them."

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